CDC: More than 94,000 Drug-Resistant Staph Infections in 2005

Methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA) caused more than 94,000 life-threatening infections and nearly 19,000 deaths in the United States in 2005, most of them associated with health care settings, according to a CDC study of life-threatening infections caused by these bacteria.

The study, which is in today's edition of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), establishes the first national baseline by which to assess future trends in invasive MRSA infections. MRSA infections can range from mild skin infections to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs, and at surgical sites.

The study found about 85 percent of all invasive MRSA infections were associated with health care settings, of which two-thirds surfaced in the community among people who were hospitalized, underwent a medical procedure, or resided in a long-term care facility within the previous year. In contrast, about 15 percent of reported infections were considered to be community-associated, which means that the infection occurred in people without documented health care risk factors. The 2005 rates of invasive infection were highest among people 65 years of age or older.

"These numbers show that many families are being affected by these drug-resistant infections," said Denise Cardo, M.D., director of CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. "Healthcare facilities need to make MRSA prevention a greater priority. The closer we get to 100 percent compliance with CDC recommendations, the greater the impact on patient health and safety."

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/submenus/sub_mrsa.htm.

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